TWSBI Eco – M nib

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TWSBI is always known for pushing the buck on affordable fountain pens. From their Vac Mini line to their Mini model. They’ve constantly surprised the pen community with just how affordable they can make such great pens. That’s why I was really excited to try the Eco, their cheapest pen to date and one that can be anyone’s first fountain pen. After some time of using it nearly every day for notes, I was pleasantly surprised.

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For $30USD, this pen really delivers on the TWSBI experience. I was a little hesitant due to the all plastic build, but decided to trust TWSBI with their quality, something that I will no longer hesitate to do. The plastic they used is solid and reliable. The one problem of this, is that there is no texturing around the grip area. I constantly found myself adjusting my grip because no matter how hard I tried it slipped after a couple of minutes. One of the biggest drawbacks to this pen for me, is how insecure the grip feels. However, due to the quality of the plastic, it can survive being dropped multiple times. I feel that they could improve on this by just adding some texture to the grip area, nothing fancy just a couple of line to ease up the grip pressure and not stress the hand out as much.

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For the rest of the pen, I don’t particularly mind the use of plastic as nowadays the quality of plastic is relatively high and helps keep such a great pen affordable. I know some have complained a bit about the flimsy nature of the piston, but I feel that it’s merely a tactile difference in operation form the standard metal knob that is present in all of TWSBI’s other models. To me, it doesn’t feel flimsy and was very smooth in operation. I wasn’t worried about any accidental turns leading to spills.

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The best part of this pen has got to be the nib. While I was expecting the standard TWSBI experience of smooth nibs to be there, it wasn’t until I actually tested it and affirmed my suspicions that I realized what it meant. When it comes to fountain pens, you usually tend to get what you pay for, especially in the price range of $15-$30. The fact that they managed to keep the amazing quality of the nib in this pen is something to be commended. I honestly have never tried another pen in this price range that had such a smooth nib out of the box. It lays down a nice line consistently and hasn’t failed me even once. Kudos to TWSBI for managing to do this. However, I found that there was often a small amount of leaking occasionally and feel that the clear direct feed design makes it much easier to occur. While it’s cool to see the ink run through the feed and look at the color right underneath your fingers, it also diminished my confidence in keeping it in my pocket. I found numerous ink stains on my fingers sometimes without knowing exactly how I got them while writing. I think it might have to do with my grip position alongside the way the feed was designed.

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Finally, the branding is very subtle and tastefully done. It’s not festooned around the pen and it really accentuates the glossiness of the black plastic that I opted for. TWSBI also has a lime green and clear version with the same nib range (EF – 1.1 Stub).

All in all, an a great and affordable first fountain pen that can definitely turn people into pen addicts. I would highly recommend this as a starter pen for anyone who wants to get start writing with fountain pens, or as a way to get others into the hobby. The first pen is a very important milestone that can make or break an individuals perception on fountain pens, so it’s important to have something beginner friendly and high quality that can give a great writing experience. The TWSBI Eco checks all those boxes for me, so don’t hesitate to try it out.

 

Pens for Sale!

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to let you guys know that I will be clearing out some of my collection to make space for new pens. These pens are all in like new condition, inked less than 20 times. They have been sitting in my Nock Brasstown for a while and it’s time they found a new home. I will be posting them as I catalog my collection, setting prices based on current market prices. The prices will not include shipping. Keep track of my Instagram and follow my blogs for updates (shameless self promoting, I’m sorry T_T).

Write On,

The Passionate Penman

TWSBI Vac Mini Review

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Here it is. Finally after using it everyday for the last week, I’m psyched to review the new TWSBI Vac Mini. This was my first foray into TWSBI’s mini series of pens. I’ve checked them out time and time again, yet just couldn’t get on board when I already had my 580Al. This purchase came from the me wanting a small, affordable fountain pen that could fit in my pocket as an EDC pen. I was making do all these days with my Pilot VP, but I decided that I needed a separate pen, as it was little too bulky. Enter the Vac Mini. Now in all honesty, I really haven’t kept up with TWSBI’s product announcements, and the Vac Mini came out of the blue for me. I saw the Goulet Pens newsletter advertising their fresh stock and decided to give it a whirl. Best decision I’ve made in 2016 as of now.

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Very minimal branding. The company name and the model name is in grey around the cap. The demonstrator body allows a view of the ink sloshing around in the barrel. Super fun but also super distracting in class :P. The ink capacity is very good compared to most of my other pens. Nearly 2 mL. The filling system was fun to use and works well. Initially, I was stuck with only 2/3 of the barrel full until I found Brian Goulet’s tutorial on how to get a nice fill with the Vac 700. Seeing as the filling system is the same, it worked out very well.

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As seen in the photo above, the tipping for the medium is very generous, resulting in a bold line that is slightly bigger than the standard Lamy medium. I personally love it, as I’m partial to slightly larger nib sizes. Straight out of the box it was buttery smooth with amazing consistency to boot. I feel that it’s the perfect balance when I have nearly 2 mL of ink to go through. It’s not too wet, but it’s not skimping either. I anticipate many weeks until a refill is needed.

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One thing that really bothers me, although it may be minor, is the dots of ink perpetually lining the slit. Now I get really OCD about that and no matter how I tried, it never truly went away. Minimizing it to what you see above is the most I could do.

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The collar used to secure the nib and feed is metal. This is the new standard, as the plastic collars of past models had a tendency to crack. It definitely feels secure when I twist it to change the nib.

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One of my favorite features on the Vac Mini. The threading on the back allows for a really secure post. It’s like recapping the pen on the back, ensuring that it won’t slip no matter what happens. In addition, the length after twisting the small amount of the cap, is perfect for someone with big hands, like me.

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Despite all the good things I have to say about this pen, it has one flaw that I just couldn’t deal with. When capped, if jostled with a little bit of force, ink tends to leak out of the pen and into the cap. I found out when I twisted off the cap and was greeted by an inky mess spilling onto my fingers and the page of my notebook. The grip was thoroughly covered in ink, resulting in a frustrating situation where I had to go to the bathroom to clean up. This happened a total of 3 times over the past week. If TWSBI could develop their version of Platinum’s slip seal and add it to this pen, it would be pretty much perfect in my book.

Overall, I would recommend the TWSBI Vac Mini to anyone who wants a portable, affordable and comfortable pen. I’m going to be using this as my EDC pen, so it’s home is going to be my pants pocket for hours on end. Don’t underestimate it’s size though, it’ll perform just as well as any of it’s bigger cousins. It’s a must add to any fountain pen collection.

UPDATE:

Hello everyone. After my review 3 days ago, I faced a problem I had yet to discover. For some reason, the flow is being disrupted occasionally. I was writing down notes in history class yesterday, about to start on my 3rd page when all of a sudden… POOF! No ink flow at whatsoever. Confused as to why, I attempted to resurrect the nib by light tapping it down on the paper. Those light taps escalated into slightly frustrated stronger ones. After about 3 minutes of trying, I gave up, retrieved my backup form the case and resumed my note taking. After a couple of hours I had to attend another class, in between, I had a lot of time to ascertain what exactly was happening. In my numerous attempts at resurrection, I managed to spray a decent amount of ink onto my fingers. I managed to get it working again after nearly an hour of trying. Needless to say this did not leave me happy. I don’t know whether it was a problem with the ink, feed, or the nib. All I know is, I was not happy for a long time afterwards. Is this a problem others are facing? Comment below if this has happened to you.

Nock Co. Case Reviews

This is a review that has been delayed for almost a year now, something I’m still kicking myself for. So without further ado, I present to you, my Nock Co. gear reviews.

This post is going to be rather long, so I’ll be splitting it up into three parts. One for the Hightower, another for the Brasstown and a final one for my newest addition, the Fodderstack.

The Hightower

In the beginning, Nock Co. was a project on Kickstarter. The brainchild of the pen addict himself, Mr. Brad Dowdy and Mr. Jeffrey Bruckwiki. They debuted the project under the banner of Nock Co. in September 2013. Their funding goal was set at $5,000. The community responded overwhelmingly, successfully funding the project within an hour. The project went on to receive nearly $79,000 by the end of the funding period. The initial design of the Hightower was what drew me instantly. At the time, I was a little hesitant to splurge on a pen case, as I had just started my journey down the rabbit hole that is the stationary world. I was skeptical about the actual sturdiness and quality (sorry Brad and Jeff! >.<) and it was overall a leap of faith. Well my faith paid off and I ended up loving my Hightower. It took it’s well deserved place as the pen case I use for school.

Specs:

  • Exterior Material: 1000D Nylon with DWR coating
  • Interior Material: Nylon Pack Cloth
  • Dimensions: 8″ x 6.75″

* Taken from the Nock Co. website

Since Day 1, the Hightower has become my go-to case for literally all my activities. Whether I was studying at the local cafe, practicing my calligraphy at home, taking notes in school and recording random ideas for the future. This case has me covered for all of those activities. I’ve fit 3 pocket notebooks in the slot and I’ve fit a max of 6 pens (two per slot) albeit they were gel pens and rollerballs not fountain pens. My usual school loadout is 2 fountain pens, a gel pen and a mechanical pencil. Since I use fountain pen friendly notebooks for all my schoolwork and assignments, the gel pen and pencil are there for taking scantron tests and filling out worksheets on standard copy paper. I managed to somehow leak a huge blob of black ink on the inside recently and am currently stumped how to get it out. I don’t remember if the case was washer friendly, so I’ll get back to you guys on that. If you know you’ll need more than three fountain pens, then the case I’ll be reviewing next might be worth consideration.

The Brasstown

Now this was nothing but a splurge on my part. I decided that my burgeoning collection of rather expensive fountain pens needed a nice home when they weren’t in use. Enter the Brasstown. With enough space to hold up to 6 fountain pens and even more space inside for 3-4 more! This behemoth of a pen case was one of the most unique designs I had ever seen. The design was debuted in the Kickstarter campaign, but just didn’t appeal to me at the time (I was happy with just 3 pens).

Specs:

  • Exterior Material: 1000D Nylon with DWR coating

  • Interior Material: Nylon Pack Cloth

  • Dimensions: 8.5″ x 2″ x 2″

* Taken from Nock Co. website

The Brasstown didn’t necessarily stay just in my drawer and it soon started making trips with me to school. At the time, I was taking an English class that required the use of 5 different colored pens. I had a field day with inking up all the exotic colors of ink with my 5 pens. The fact that nearly all of them were seeing daily use made me happy. In addition to just pens, the inside of the case had enough space to carry a ruler, eraser, whiteout and just about anything else I needed. Nowadays, it usually sits in my drawer and is exclusively used for storage.

The Fodderstack

A gift from my parents for doing well in my Fall quarter, the Fodderstack is the the latest addition to my Nock Co. case collection. This case however, has a single function: storing 3″ x 5″ note cards, and a single pen. The case was designed to be used with Nock Co.’s Dot-Dash note cards, but can be used with any standard brands out in the market. As long as the size is 3″x 5″, it’ll fit snugly. This however presented a quandary for me. What pen shall I use along with my note cards? From my testing over the weekend, I found that I could fit only one fountain pen, but up to 2 gel pens, pencils or a combination of both. I received the Nock Co. Dot-Dash note cards to use along with it, but that review will have to wait until after the New Year.

Specs:

  • Exterior Material: 1000D Nylon with DWR coating

  • Interior Material: Nylon Pack Cloth

  • Dimensions: 5.125″ x 3.25″

* Taken from Nock Co. website

I haven’t had a lot of time with it, but I can tell that the Fodderstack and the note cards are going to be used a lot in the upcoming quarter (I’m taking a public speaking class). The only problem I’ve had so far was with how unbending and tough the shell is. I’ve faced this issue with all my Nock cases for about a week maybe two max. They require some breaking in to be able to smoothly slide pens in the slots. This however is pretty normal for any cloth product, so I’m not too worried about it. After I’ve spent enough time with it, I’ll update this section with my thoughts.

Final Thoughts

All I can really say is: wow. The design and idea behind these cases are so simple, yet they are clearly designed with function and convenience in mind. Since my first one, I have been hooked on Nock Co. cases, causing me to salivate with anticipation for their upcoming products. Since it’s inception, Nock Co. has grown considerably, debuting new designs, vivacious new colorways and increasing the choices available for new and returning customers alike. The innovation and well marketed brand has allowed for a lot of exclusive products and collaborations with well known individuals and pen companies. In my personal opinion, I attribute most of the success to the fact that one of the founders is heavily involved in the pen and stationary community. When someone who runs a company is very involved with the market their company’s products cater to, it’s that much easier to understand the needs and desires of the community. With the addition of a talented seamster and designer, it’s a very solid business idea.

As the year comes to an end, I would like to wish all those at Nock Co. a very happy New Year. I look forward in anticipation to the ideas you’ll bring to the table next year and may you enjoy many years of success.

 

Platinum #3776 Nice Pur Ltd Edition

DSCF6797When I was at the L. A. Pen show back in February, I was absolutely thrilled to purchase my first pen from Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com). I was wide awake, unable to sleep, wondering which pen to get. I was still in my developmental stage as a pen addict, so I was looking for a different experience. When I say different, I meant a smaller nib size, as I had gotten too used to my binderized VP medium nib. After my jaw hit the floor when looking at the price tags on the Sailor pens, I looked into offerings from Platinum. At the time, the Nice Pur was the latest edition in the #3776 Century models. It was a variation on the Nice, which was the previous iteration. I was briefly attracted to the Nice, but the rose gold plating made it seem a bit too gaudy for my taste. I just couldn’t bring myself to get a pen with gold hardware.

DSCF6799When I was testing the nibs, I was asking advice from John Mottishaw. I told him about my medium VP that I adored, as well as the Franklin-Christoph Masuyama medium CI I had bought that same day. My request was to recommend a nib that gave me an entirely different writing experience from the pens I already had, but was smooth at the same time. He handed me a Platinum fine nib and told me to test it out. I put the pen to the Rhodia pad and it glided across, but provided a decent amount of feedback. I asked to try the medium next, and after a couple of scribbles, decided that it felt too similar to my VP. I narrowed it down to the broad and fine. After mulling it over for nearly 40 minutes, pacing back and forth, I went with the fine. As John was optimizing the pen for me, I was giddy with excitement to test it out and review it. I thanked him for his patience and went on my way.

DSCF6816Fast forward a few months, the Platinum was lying inked up, yet unused in my desk drawer. How did this situation come about? Right after going home, I inked it up and put it into my note taking rotation. I was taking my first class in Spring quarter, and was eager to put this baby to use. I started writing and stopped abruptly. The smoothness had completely gone, leaving it scratchy as a nail. I thought it may have been a problem form the factory, so I went home, rinsed it out, flushed completely, and inked it up again. Same problem, and all the inks I had at the time made this pen seem dry and scratchy. Disappointed, I put it in my desk drawer and forgot about it.

DSCF6829After nearly 7 months of lying in my drawer, I finally spotted it during my pre-Fall quarter stationary inventory. The painful memory of it’s scratchiness surfaced, and it almost went back in. However, in a split second decision, I decided that I had to at least review it for my blog. I uncapped it and tried writing, lo and behold, it worked perfectly without any hard starts. The Slip and Seal mechanism that Platinum heavily advertises as one of this pen’s features really isn’t just marketing hype. After 7 months, it worked the moment the nib touched the paper.

DSCF6813Any bad experience I had with this pen had to be let go, to be able to review it and form an unbiased opinion. So I flushed it and inked it up with a new ink I had bought, Sailor Souten. When trying it out again, I was reminded of the buttery smooth dream nib I had tested way back when. Mystified, I tested it with my standard Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, resulting in it being smoother than the Souten. It was at that moment I realized how stupid I had been. The performance of a pen can be affected depending on the ink inside. I had completely forgotten about this, which resulted in me ignoring one of the best pens I’ve ever purchased.

DSCF6814I was never one for demonstrators, as I felt they looked cheap due to the plastic. The aesthetic of this pen completely rejects that supposition. The striated frosted plastic looks absolutely gorgeous. My only complaint is that the lines tend to dig into my skin when I try to twist the cap on and off. Other than that, it’s one of the best looking pens I’ve had the pleasure of using.

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The first 2000 pens are engraved with a number, as you can see above. Mine is #1597. The engraving is very minimal and I didn’t even notice it until I checked. It’s also very hard to capture a photo of it, as the slightest amount of glare tends to reflect off the top.

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No matter how hard you try to keep the nib free from ink, it’s near impossible. Unless it’s uninked, I have yet to see a Platinum #3776 not have small specks of ink all around the slit. I initially wanted to gripe about it, but realized that it’s not too big of a deal.

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The clip is one of the tightest I’ve ever used. When I’m sliding it into my pencil case, I have to put a bit of effort and bend the clip upwards, otherwise, it’s impossible to force it in. It has kept it’s shape and tightness pretty well over the last month. I feel reassured that it won’t slip regardless of whether you’re wearing it in your shirt/pant pocket, or a pencil case.

Platinum Preppy Review

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When it comes to fountain pens, higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality. This pen is an embodiment of that principle. The nib on this pen easily matches those above its price range. The body is lightweight, the cap posts snugly, the ink flow is smooth, its comfortable to hold, and its only $5! For a disposable pen, it has got to be one of the smoothest out of box nibs I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. The color of the ink is vibrant, and there are a lot of choices when it comes to colors.

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I personally went with the medium nib, as Platinum’s fine is too fine for my taste. It turned out choice was correct. For my writing style and preferences, the medium (0.5) was the fit. Currently, Platinum offers this pen in EF, F, and M. It’s a good fountain pen for those who have never used one before. At only $5, it’s simplicity itself to find the nib size that is right for you.

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The see through grip provides a nice view of the feed, improving the aesthetics overall.

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The pen only the 3 sections: nib and feed, body, and the cap. It’s simple to disassemble, should you have to, and you’ll be able to do it while not being afraid of losing anything. This pen is disposable, so after the cartridge is finished, you can just throw it out. However, after taking to the interwebs, I have found out that pen enthusiasts who saw a lot of potential in the Preppy, somehow converted it into an eyedropper pen. If you’re interested, Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Co. put out a great video tutorial on converting the Preppy to an eyedropper. So check it out!

DISCLAIMER: I have no affiliation with Brian Goulet, or the Goulet Pen Co. I am just one of their happy customers.

Lamy Safari Review

Let me start this review by saying that this pen was an impulse buy. I wasn’t exactly thinking I would love it with all my heart, but it was pretty cheap, so I decided I may as well add it to the family. What started off as an impulse buy slowly turned into something I could never have imagined. What pen could possibly have such a profound effect on me you ask? It’s the famous Lamy Safari.

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This pen is one of the most highly recommended beginner fountain pens in the entire pen community. All one has to do is Google “best beginner fountain pens”, and this pen will have a spot on every single list made. After extensive use, I can see why it holds its own against all the other contenders.

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This pen redefined the word “workhorse” for me. It’s been nearly 5 months since I purchased it, but I have used it for the whole of spring quarter for all my notes, assignments, and side projects. I was impressed by the quality as well as the durability of this seemingly cheap looking fountain pen. When I first took it out of the case, it felt too light, and plastic-y for me. I didn’t imagine it would hold up too long, so I used it without hesitation, waiting to see its limits. Needless to say, I’m still using it to this day, but have yet to experience a drop in quality.

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The biggest reason this pen is so highly recommended is, in my opinion, the interchangeable nib system. For beginners, finding the right nib size is an arduous task. I also had to struggle to find the perfect size that was complimentary to my writing style, as well as providing the writing experience I desired. It took me about 2 months and scouring innumerable reviews from other pen bloggers to finally narrow it down.

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I tend to prefer a Japanese medium which is equivalent to a Western fine, so I chose to get the Safari with a fine nib. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was. I had heard a lot of complaints about Lamy’s nib QC, but apparently, they’ve fixed their problems because I found nothing wrong with all the ones I tested.

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Let’s talk about the grip. Now this was something that confused me. I have seen a LOT of fountain pens, but none of them have the particular shape of the Lamy Safari. the triangular grip is pretty unique to Lamy pens, and I find that while slightly annoying to adjust to in the beginning, it becomes pretty natural after extended use. Initially, this grip had me hating this pen, as I could never grip it comfortably without it stabbing into my fingers. So for those of you who grip differently than the norm, be aware of this before you get this pen.

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Another aspect of this pen that makes it perfect for beginners, is the simple maintenance. This pen can be easily taken apart and cleaned. It takes me less than 2 minutes to take it apart and clean it thoroughly before leaving it to dry.

Overall, the Safari has got to be one of the best beginner pens out there. These words have been repeated many a time among those of the pen community, and today I join their ranks as a fellow admirer of the Lamy Safari. Beautiful, simplistic, and durable. These three words describe my thoughts on the Lamy Safari. While I’m probably not going to get a another one in a different color, one never knows what the future holds. 😉

Pilot Petit 1 Review

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I was very surprised with this pen. I was told by one of my friends that this is actually a throw-away (disposable) pen meant to give people a taste of writing with a fountain pen. My first thought was, after I’m finished with it, I would throw it. I had yet to try it until then.

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After trying it for the first time, I was a little skeptical, as it was one of the hardest starts I’ve ever had, comparable to the Pilot Hi-Tec C. So I started slowly squeezing the cartridge, in a hope to saturate the feed and get the ink flowing. This took a while, leaving me a little frustrated. After overcoming the hard start, I extensively tested it on my Rhodia DotPad.

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The nib alone made me question whether this pen was indeed disposable. The Petit1 comes with a standard Pilot F nib. I have always steered clear of Japanese F nibs, as they are often the equivalent to Western EF nibs, which are too small for my writing style. Pilot is one of my favorite pen companies, because of their nibs. While in the past, they weren’t very consistent in terms of quality, the same cannot be said now. They instituted a completely new and extensive process for QC in the recent past, and it has transformed my experience with any Pilot fountain pen I came across since. the nib is smooth out of the box, and lays down a consistent line once the feed is properly saturated.

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When Pilot uses a variation of the word “petite” as the name of one of their lines, you can be assured these pens indeed exhibit this quality. They have found a very balanced shape that is neither too long nor too petite. While the pen is small and can fit into my pocket, it can also comfortably post, allowing a person with larger hands (me) to effortlessly use it.

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Simple, low-key branding helps keep the overall minimalistic feel to this pen. You can take off the sticker in this picture, but I was too lazy to do so. DSCF8279

Overall, this pen managed to really surprise me with its balanced form, minimalistic looks, and amazing nib performance. While it is technically a disposable pen, I don’t see myself throwing it out anywhere in the near future. If you want to experience writing with a fountain pen in a variety of vibrant colors, or want to give someone else such an experience, don’t hesitate to give them one of these.

Franklin-Christoph Model 40P Review

There was once a boy, who had a big dream. His dream was a to get a Model 40P from Franklin-Christoph, so he set out to pursue this goal. Knowing his wallet was crying out in hopelessness, he traversed the internet for a solution. That solution came in the form of a group buying site known as Massdrop. A sense of jubilation rose through him as he started a poll for Franklin-Christoph pens. However, he needed 200 votes, and his only counted as one. The road to 200 seemed like a long and arduous journey. He spread the word, hoping to get more votes, and steadily as the days went by, the number of votes rose. Within 2 weeks it had passed 200! The boy smiled, at the winning choice, his dream pen, the Model 40P. Patiently, the boy waited to see whether Franklin-Christoph would be able to accept the demand for the pens. Alas, it was not meant to be, as instead of all 3 top choices, Franklin-Christoph chose to provide the Model 27 Collegia.

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Jim, the kind gentleman who adjusted my Model 40P

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Clips are now just a $10 add-on. I didn’t want one, but for those of you who do…

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These are the testing pens with all the nibs Franklin-Christoph offers

Heartbroken, the boy was faced with a choice. Forget about the pen, and get something within his price range, or work hard and earn it. He ultimately chose the latter, and after half a year of saving, he finally had enough to go to the L. A. Pen show. He ended up buying the pen of his dreams, and now he’s going to review it.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

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The Ice look maintains under any lighting, outside or inside

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I love that script! Simple and elegant branding.

Beautiful. Stunning. Simplistic. These are the words I think of whenever I see the Model 40P. The P in the name denoting that it’s a pocket-sized pen. While I haven’t yet used it as one, I am sure that it would work out fine. I first saw this pen on Fountain Pen Network, and was instantly smitten with its understated beauty. No fancy gimmicks, just a simple, acrylic pen with a dark grey finial. It accepts short international cartridges, but can also be used as an eyedropper, which this pen begs to be used as.

NIB PERFORMANCE:

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This makes an amazing eyedropper. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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Close up of that juicy, smooth nib

For the nib selection, it was a no-brainer. I had already known I wanted a Masuyama cursive italic. It was just a matter of medium or broad. After extensive time with the tester pens, I knew the medium was perfect for my style of writing. I tend to write smaller than average when taking notes. I think it may have something to do with my rather powerful glasses. What I can read perfectly, other tend to struggle. When I first tested the nib, it was scratchy. I asked Jim if he could make it smoother, and he went to work. Three tests later, it was gliding across the page. It is the perfect blend of smoothness, combined with the sharp lines and variation of a cursive italic. This nib is very forgiving, allowing beginners like me to easily adapt to writing with it.

DESIGN:

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The “ice” texture is one of the greatest aesthetic assets of this pen. No matter what color ink you decide to use, it will look great sloshing around in the barrel if you’re using it as an eyedropper. As you can see above, this is one of the qualities that automatically drew me to this pen.

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The finial seamlessly blends into the main section. Franklin-Christoph now offer this part in many different colors. Some of them look really nice, and it became a difficult choice for me. I went with the Smoke color because it was the original color scheme that had bewitched me.

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The most annoying part of this is cleaning it. It is the biggest task I have undertaken, and it is very difficult to properly get all the ink out. That’s why I suggest to not use an ink that tends to be difficult, like the J. Herbin 1670 series, Noodler’s bulletproof inks, or any pigmented inks. If you do decide to use these inks, make sure to use it up as quickly as possible, and put it in an ultrasonic cleaner (I used an electric toothbrush with some success).

OVERALL:

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I would recommend this pen to everyone and their uncle. It is versatile, beautiful, and durable. It is the perfect balance between form and function. The HP steel nibs are a great value and perform nearly as good as the 18K gold nibs. Getting a nib ground by Mike Masuyama for an extremely small premium makes this pens one of the best purchases I have made.

Karas Kustoms INK Fountain Pen Review

The fact that Karas Kustoms was there at the L. A. Pen show came as a very pleasant surprise. I entered the hall, looked around, and there, tucked into a quiet corner, was the Karas Kustoms table. There sat Bill Karas and Dan Bishop, the brilliant minds behind the Karas Kustoms pen line. I walked up and Dan greeted with a warm, welcoming smile which disarmed me completely. I stopped being so nervous, and we started chatting about their solid, well-designed pens, that I salivate over.

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Karas Kustoms on Instragram

KarasKustoms.com

I had been looking at the INK in black body/brass grip combo for the longest time, but it was constantly sold out by the time I had earned enough to get it. Incidentally, I was looking forward to getting a Spencerian grind on my Falcon, but was informed that John Mottishaw doesn’t work on pens not bought from Nibs.com. This came as a huge disappointment to me, but it also cleared about $110 of my budget, allowing me to re-purpose it towards getting an INK in my dream combo. Best of all, Dan kindly knocked $10 off the original price, which helped me save enough to buy another dream pen (a story for another review).

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